Friday, October 24, 2008

From the Pulpit — Messages for the New Year

ROSH HASHANA is the Jewish New Year, when we celebrate the creation of mankind. We are the “chosen of all creations” and it is, therefore, incumbent upon us to lead by example in bettering the world we live in.

Rosh Hashana 5769 begins a year of hachel, which means “gathering and unity.” At the time when our Holy Temple was still standing, all Jews – men, women and children (even infants) — would gather in Jerusalem every seven years and the king would read selections from the Torah to them. These words of Torah helped to strengthen their faith in God and their dedication to His commandments.

Although we have no Holy Temple, the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged us to organize hachel gatherings to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God and the Torah. As our connection with God grows, so does our connection with each other. Any differences between us begin to seem trivial and insignificant. Regardless of each person’s strength or weakness, we are all united as one, with a greater awareness of God and his presence in our daily lives.

We can accomplish this on many different levels – in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities. We can sit down with our families on Shabbat to share a d’var Torah or sing a Shabbat song together. We can periodically get together with our coworkers to do a good deed.

The harmony that will grow from our active participation during this year will hasten the arrival of Moshiach and, thus, bring the ultimate fulfillment of hachel with complete and joyous unity.

May God grant us all a joyful, prosperous, and sweet New Year.

Rabbi Mordechai Kanelsky
Congregation Shomrei Torah Ohel Yosef Yitzchok and Bris Avrohom, Hillside

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